These last few weeks I’ve been adding a little more hiking and trail running to my program. The main impetus for this is to not allow me to get tired of riding bikes with such a far out goal, and to keep working on my fitness whilst seeing some of the amazing things there are to see around Sydney.
When I lived in Sydney, during my undergraduate years, I was overweight. Not to start with, but the years I lived here were the years I entered into obesity. I missed out on a lot of the amazing things around me because I was too unfit and too ashamed to try. On a run this last week I was remembering that I had said no to going on walks with friends in undergrad because I was afraid of them judging me, of the shame of my bright red face, my heavy breathing, the sweat and struggle when others were walking with ease. I am saddened that it held me back and I am hoping that if you happen to have an overweight friend, or you are that overweight friend, that you don’t hold back, that you don’t miss out on some amazing experiences because of fear of judgement as I had. They are your experiences for the taking! As such, let me entice you with some of the amazing trail runs I’ve found these last couple of weeks to help mix up my training!
Spit to Manly
This one takes a bit of time, catching a train into the city, then a bus over to the Spit to start the walk. The weather has been off and on, wet and cold, muggy and sunny, but still great walking and running weather. Rex, Brenton and I headed off on this walk on Brenton’s 30th birthday, the day after my 30th birthday! It’s an easy hike in terms of technical stuff, a few stairs, but nothing scary, I recommend it for anyone. It takes a couple of hours at an easy pace, and is popular for runners. There are plenty of spots to relax and take a break, as well as some Aboriginal rock engraving. Once you make it to Manly, you can reward yourself with a dip in the ocean to cool off, or a meal at one of the many gelato or fish and chip shops, and there are markets on the weekends that are fun to browse. You can either head back to the city via the walk, or you can catch a ferry back to Circular Quay! This is my favourite ferry ride around the harbour, it is so picturesque, bringing you back past the most scenic parts of the harbour, the bridge, the opera house, the botanic gardens, it’s gorgeous. Worth it. About 10kms long.
(L) The city in the background and some locals (R)
Wedding Cake Rock
Part of the Coast Track, a great walk along the coast of the Royal National Park, is a quick out and back to Wedding Cake Rock. It’s only around 4-5kms all up, and it has a mix of sand, rock, ups and downs, a great little early morning hit up. The views are again spectacular and I highly recommend it. The whole Coast Track is a 26km walk, doable in one day, otherwise you can camp along the way (on the to do list). When whale season comes around, I will definitely be making some regular runs along this track to see some of those gorgeous mammals playing in the ocean!
Cape Solander Track
This trail is within Kamay Botany Bay National Park, near Kurnell. Another great spot for watching whales, but has some great running and hiking along the coast, sheer sandstone cliffs, some sandy hills that seem so much steeper when you’re running up them, and a gorgeous lighthouse that makes photos even more picturesque. This hike is only accessible during park opening hours, but if you’re ok with a few extra kms of walking along the roads, you can park outside the gates and walk in. It is about 8kms and is easy to follow. The views at sunset were incredible when I headed out there, starting from Cronulla end, and I can’t wait to head out there again for more and longer runs!
On a great hilly little road ride around the Royal National Park, I found a turn off to Winifred Falls. I looked it up and it turned out to be a great little waterfall in Sydney that you can swim under. We headed out and took the turn off I found for the walk. It was a very short and very steep 2km walk that took us down to the waterfall. It was a great little swimming hole that I intend to return too via Audley instead, making it more like a 8km walk in total, in which case the swim at the waterfall would feel much more like a reward than the quick little trip down we took. It’s so great to find all these little gems around Sydney that are reasonably close to where I live.
Let me know if you ever hit up any of these great hikes, or if you know of any others that are great for some cross training whilst adding some beautiful scenery to my runs 🙂